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Edison Exec Explains Delays, Lack of Answers (Video)

Ronald Garcia, regional manager for Southern California Edison, ticked off a list of hindrances and unexpected problems that slowed the power company's response, and apologized for not being able to answer the big question: "When will I get my power back?

Listing myriad problems that slowed down the power company's response to , Southern California Edison Regional Manager Ronald Garcia apologized for not having the answer those in the dark still want to know: "When will I get my power back?''

Garcia addressed La Cañada Flintridge City Council Monday night, referencing the city's damage and devastation in surrounding communities. He ticked off a litany of unexpected problems the storm, with its hurricane-force winds, brought to their restoration efforts. Going forward, crews will not touch wires that have fallen into trees until they're grounded at both ends, he said.

Oil spills from transformers that required HazMat cleanup were another hinderance, he said, noting in his 44 years with the power company this was the worst storm he'd experienced.

Garcia admitted to a breakdown in communication between the company, the cities and customers--but he said he didn't have information to communicate. And by the time he received that information, the higher priority was the safety of removing and re-energizing downed lines.

"It was impossible to meet the needs of everyone asking for help,'' he said.

Although Garcia reiterated several times a message that is posted on the company's website--to call 911 if you see a downed line--LCF Council member Don Voss pointed out that a few residents who called 911 were told to call SoCal Edison.

The coordination between emergency personell and the power company is one of the topics the city plans to discuss with executives at SoCal Edison in upcoming meetings. 

Garcia speaks to all the issues he encountered and why he couldn't pass along information to the public, as well as explains why some people had fleeting power restoration, in this article's video.

Heather Shaw December 07, 2011 at 03:45 PM
It would seem that the coordination between the utility and the cities was a huge issue. So help me understand why the utility is the ONLY one to blame for that!?! Each city should be just as proactive in attempting to work with their utility and contracted services before a crises. I love how politicians, even local, are so adamant about playing the blame game. This was a freak occurence in our area and if they did not plan for it, why is it Edison's fault!?!
SandraT December 07, 2011 at 05:16 PM
For myself and, I suspect, many others, just getting ^^THIS^^ information to us in a timely manner would have gone a long way in sustaining the patience of some of us.
JenL December 07, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Because it's their business and their responsibility. Because they are the only game in town, heat and light are essentials, not luxuries, and because no "city"(that is, county)officials can physically turn on the power/get lights up again. ONLY Edison has the capability to do that. They own the lines. I think the much greater onus is on Edison to have a plan. And whatever the circumstances, to tell it like it is to customers. If they don't know how long, say "WE DONT KNOW", or "IT COULD BE AS LONG AS 5-7 DAYS[OR LONGER]". As Sandra says below, the fact that Edison was so confused and contradictory in its responses and statements was, and is, a problem. It led me to suspect they are not well organized for any disasters. The Councilmen said the same and are asking to see Edison's plans and modus operandi(if they actually have a coherent one). They have to be way better at communicating at the very least. It really is a possibility that Edison is not adequately prepared you know.
Gary Edwards December 07, 2011 at 09:56 PM
@ Heather. When Edison says they "notified the media" as a way to get word to residents, it became clearly evident they didn't have a good (or any) plan of notification in place. Coincidentally, yesterday I received a notification, from SCE, via the LA County Sheriff alert system with an update. This is what we're talking about when we say it's their fault for crappy notification. It's THEIR fault b/c LA CO. Public Works (here in Altadena vs. your Monrovia) likely don't have any idea about restoration timetables for something they know nothing about (restoring electrical). SCE is the entity that knows about restoring electrical and is obligated to getting accurate info to the masses. Restoring electrical is their ball of wax and needed to take the lead
Natalie Ragus December 07, 2011 at 11:29 PM
@Gary. I can attest Edison never "notified the media" about anything. I would call several times a day to get updates. While they were unfailingly polite, the reps never had much information to offer and NOTHING specific to Arcadia. They always said they'd call me back with the information I requested, but never did. When I called back again, I got the same run around. It was like pulling teeth, especially in the first days of the disaster.

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